Centre says no to sugar import ban

Last Updated 16 May 2018, 18:47 IST

The Centre on Wednesday said it has no plans to put a ban on sugar imports even after neighbouring Pakistan's sweetener hitting India and a glut in the domestic market pulling down prices.

"There is no plan to put any restriction as of now," Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Alok Chaturvedi told media.

He also said that the imports from Pakistan were "minuscule" at 1,908 tonnes since April this year.

"India imported just 1,908 tonnes of sugar from Pakistan during the current fiscal year up to May 14," he clarified.

However, the Centre has asked the customs department to carry out rigorous inspections of sugar imports from Pakistan, particularly at Mumbai and Wagha.

It has also asked for a quality test of Pakistani sugar at FSSAI labs.

The Maharashtra Congress and NCP have hit out at the Centre for sugar import from Pakistan saying the move has led to a crash in prices of sweetener in the domestic market.

The state Congress chief had also sought an explanation from the Centre on its move that resulted in sugar prices per tonne falling from Rs 36,000 to Rs 24,000.

India is the second largest producer of sugar and its production is expected to reach the 320 lakh tonnes mark during the ongoing sugar year (October-September) 2017-18.

The Centre has put a 100% duty on sugar import. This is the maximum duty India can impose under its law, Chaturvedi said.

However, under the WTO rules a maximum of 150% duty can be imposed on sugar import but for that, the government will have to seek Parliament's approval.

In 2017-18, the country imported 13,110 tonnes of sugar from Pakistan. India imports sugar mainly from Brazil.

The DGFT also said that India exported 1.75 million tonnes of sugar in 2017-18.

(Published 16 May 2018, 15:26 IST)

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